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Education Outreach: From Sensors to B2MML

Banner Engineering and MESA International launch new education programs designed to engage families as well as practicing engineers.

A child interacts with one of Banner Engineering’s exhibits in The Sensor Zone.
A child interacts with one of Banner Engineering’s exhibits in The Sensor Zone.

Having a focus on education is nothing new for most engineering-related companies and organizations. But in the last few years, the pace at which various educational activities have been announced has certainly picked up speed. For a quick snapshot of the latest engineering educated activities taking place, visit www.automationworld.com/esi.

Two of the most recent education-focused announcements I’ve encountered include Banner Engineering’s cooperation with The Works Museum to engage children with engineering, science and technology, and MESA International’s new B2MML and integration fundamentals training.

Running until the end of the year, The Sensor Zone exhibit at The Works Museum in Bloomington, Minn., includes three interactive experiences designed with the help of Banner sensors, actuators, safety products and LED lights:
• Sensor Swap allows museum attendees to make toasters, fans and other common household items pop, whir and power-up—as well as shut down—using Banner’s K50s, VTBs, e-stops and magnetic safety interlocks.
• Studio Remix permits patrons to create beats and sounds all their own by using sensors hidden in couches and mats to play music and operate Banner’s high intensity spotlights. A DJ spinning table uses Banner’s D10 analog fiber amplifier and PBCT fiber to change sound pitch and tune through a gray scale “record.”
• Sensor Mazes incorporate Banner sensors and actuators to create an obstacle challenge course. An analog T30UXUC controls fix linear arrays that adjust in brightness in correlation to the analog output. Parts of the maze are illuminated by Banner UV lights. 

“Creating appealing, demystifying STEM experiences is imperative to attracting today’s youth to engineering and ensuring a future of innovators,” says Bob Fayfield, owner and founder of Banner Engineering. “Banner is honored to be a part of helping The Works achieve its mission of providing inspiring, hands-on STEM learning experiences for kids.”

Meanwhile, MESA International has added new components to its Global Education Program (GEP), including new B2MML and integration fundamentals training as well as online classes.

The B2MML & Integration Fundamentals program is a result of the 2012 merger between MESA and the World Batch Forum (WBF).  The new program details the fundamentals in plant-to-enterprise integration as well as the methodologies of using the MESA B2MML (Business-to-Manufacturing Markup Language) and ISA-95 standard.  The IACET-accredited program will be available in both classroom and online settings and offer a MESA Certificate of Competency for successful completion in either format.
 
MESA is also preparing to release a schedule of online classes for nine existing GEP courses.  All such courses will be instructor-led to allow for student interaction with a MESA-authorized instructor and will offer IACET Continuing Education Units (CEU).  Online courses can be taken as an individual class, based on topic and timing, or as part of a bundle or certificate program.

MESA's president Mike Yost says, “These enhancements to the MESA GEP show our continued commitment to establishing a worldwide baseline of knowledge for the MES/MOM space.  When we get educated buyers working with educated solution providers, everyone will win, and the value of these solutions will be globally understood.”

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